Are you making the big change from stay-at-home-mom to working mom to help out with family expenses? When a mom has been home for years, either working a flexible job or working the challenging job of SAHM, it can be hard to acclimate to a 9-5. Here’s how to get ready to go back to work and make it work.
When you decided to stay home with your kids (or when you had to stay home with your kids), it was a big transition from workforce to full-time mothering. But you did it and your kids have had a fabulous run of being home with mom.
So, when it’s time to go back to work, you have a whole new transition to deal with: Leaving your life at home to return to the workforce. Returning to work after a hiatus can be nervewracking for a mom — there are so many details, and so much to consider. And are you still prepared for working outside the home? (Yes.) Have your skills evaporated? (Don’t worry — they haven’t.)
Here’s what moms need to know about going back to work after a hiatus.
Update, update, update!
If it’s been a while since you last worked outside the home, then you probably have some dated info on your resume — and your business wardrobe may be dated, as well. It’s important that you bring these things into the present when heading back to work. “Make sure everything is up-to-date. Your wardrobe (or at least your interview outfit) should be stylish and should properly fit your new post-mommy body and your resume should be scannable and skills focused,” says Karen Southall Watts, a management consultant who teaches in the business department of Bellingham Technical College. Watts also suggests calling references to let them know that you are in the job market again.
Take a critical look at your resume and add any information about activities that could relate to the work world. How?
Recognize your skills from your hiatus
Even if you’ve been home for a while, you’ve probably been doing some things for your kids that translate to actual brain-building activities. Planning school fundraisers and working with the school board aren’t just being active in your kid’s life, they are work-related skill boosters. Those things can totally translate to the your resume, so know how to recognize them and explain them. “Don’t give me the ins and outs of the bake sale and how cute the kids were. Talk customers, budget, revenues, advertising campaign, and whatever other business issues arose out of the bake sale. If you translate it for the employer, they do less mental translation work,” says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career expert, writer, speaker and co-founder of SixFigureStart.
In your mom life, it’s okay to look a little harried sometimes. Those are the days when you toss on a baseball cap and just get things done. Not so when it comes to looking for a job. You want prospective employers to see you as a woman who has it all together. “Get a good night’s sleep before your interview (even if you have to send the kids to a friend’s house) and use cosmetics to help you convey health and vigor. Arrive on time and be patient,” says Watts.
Also, make sure that you trade the diaper bag for a handbag and drop kid-friendly words like boo-boo, potty and whoopsie.
On the homefront, it’s easy to anticipate all the ways that the transition can go wrong… but being negative breeds negativity. Instead, be positive. “Kids of all ages are more resilient than we give them credit for. While mom’s return to work might initially be a bumpy transition, it also can often bring out the best in everyone and prove to have benefits not originally anticipated,” says Faun Zarge, Life Balance Consultant.
Furthermore, Zarge suggests that families discuss the transition regularly to ensure that everyone is adequately cared for physically and emotionally. After all, going back to work impacts everyone in the family.